The name Springvale arose from permanent water sources for stock and travellers between Melbourne and Dandenong. In the 1850s a Spring Vale hotel was built near a newly surveyed route between Oakleigh and Dandenong, and its proprietor chose that name because of the natural springs in the area and its association with a place near the Bog of Allen in his native Ireland. The inn was located on the road to Dandenong where it intersected the track from Brighton and another running north south (i.e. the present Princes Highway, Centre/Police Roads and Springvale Road.). Notwithstanding the superficially strategic location of the land a village did not eventuate until a primary school was opened in 1867 because other centres of settlement existed in the Mulgrave area and in the opposite direction southwards.
The Gippsland railway line (1879) had a Spring Vale Road stopping place, and in 1886 sales of subdivided land occurred (after rail fares had been reduced by extending the suburban fares zone from Oakleigh to Dandenong. The subdivided land adjoined the railway station, nearly two kilometres south of the hotel and school on Princes Highway. In 1887 a Wesleyan church was opened near the railway station along with the Sandown Park racecourse next to the railway line in 1891. Another primary school, Spring Vale Railway Station (now "Springvale"), was opened in 1907. By the 1920s the Spring Vale community had a lodge, brass band, a recreation reserve a mechanics' institute, a few shops and some houses in the township. Kelly and Lewis, engineers, opened a factory in 1922 and Rocla Concrete opened a factory two years later. A picture theatre opened in 1924. At the outbreak of the second world war Springvale was a pastoral, residential and industrial township with market gardens in the surrounding areas. Sand extraction industries were active, lasting until the 1990s.
The clearest indication of postwar residential growth occurred in the early 1960s when Rockman's Shopwell department store was built, and later when shops on the east side of Springvale Road were removed for road widening. Housing growth was rapid and estates with made roads and services replaced unserviced subdivisions. The new Sandown racecourse site was opened in 1961 for both horse and motor-car racing.
On the north of the Princes Highway is the Springvale Crematorium and Necropolis. Next to the Crematorium is an area of housing and the original Springvale primary school near where Centre and Springvale Roads cross Princes Highway.
Springvale's shopping centre is southwards at the junction of the railway line and Springvale Road. The city hall and library are nearby. The surrounding area's street pattern is mostly in a grid, with a few neighbourhood reserves. There are three State primary schools and a Catholic primary school. Between the Princes Highway and the railway line are Sandown racecourse and a smaller greyhound track, a primary school, the Springvale secondary college and an Islamic secondary college. A large linear park adjoins the racecourse.
The municipal area of Springvale was originally part of the Dandenong shire (1873) which encompassed area extending to Chelsea (on Port Phillip Bay).
Severances from Dandenong shire were made in 1890 and 1920, resulting in a shire which extended from Springvale to Dandenong. On 31 May, 1955, the shire was divided into Springvale and Noble Park shire (104 sq. km.) and Dandenong shire. Oakleigh city took 6 sq. km. from Springvale and Noble Park in 1959, and the resulting area was proclaimed Springvale city on 22 April, 1961. In 1965 it was enlarged when a portion was taken from Waverley city.
Springvale city included the areas of Aspendale Gardens, Bangholme, Braeside, Carrum Downs, Chelsea Heights, Dingley Village, Keysborough, Noble Park and Patterson Lakes.
On 15 December, 1994, Springvale city was amalgamated by a part being united with most of Frankston city and part of Cranbourne shire to form an enlarged Frankston city, and the other part being united with Chelsea and parts of Mordialloc, Oakleigh and Moorabbin cities to form Kingston city.
Because of frequent boundary changes comparisons between earlier and later population census years are unreliable, but the census populations of Springvale city in later years were 39,431 (1966), 58,374 (1971), 77,817 (1981) and 89,478 (1991).
Springvale township's census populations have been 497 (1911) and 2,768 (1947).
Hibbins, G.M., A History of the City of Springvale: Constellation of Communities, Lothian Publishing Pty, Ltd., 1975.
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